T-Mobile completes first low-band 5G data session using Snapdragon X55 modem


T-Mobile, Qualcomm, and Ericsson have teamed up to reach another 5G milestone.

The three companies announced today that they’ve achieved the world’s first low-band 5G data session on a commerical 5G modem. The data session was completed on 600MHz spectrum at T-Mobile’s lab in Bellevue, WA using a mobile test device with a Qualcomm Snapdragon X55 5G modem. The test also included an RF transceiver, FR Front-End solution, and commercial 5G radios from Ericsson.

“This is a key step toward achieving our vision of 5G for All,” said T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray. “This modem will power devices that tap into the 600 MHz low-band spectrum we’ll use to blanket the country with 5G.”

This milestone is notable because T-Mobile plans to use 600MHz spectrum to expand the coverage of its 5G network. T-Mobile’s 5G network currently only uses millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum, which has a much shorter reach than 600MHz.

The Snapdragon X55 5G modem will enable devices to connect to T-Mobile’s 600MHz 5G coverage. However, the X55 isn’t inside any 5G phones currently on the market. T-Mobile’s Galaxy S10 5G includes a Snapdragon X50 5G modem, which only works with T-Mo’s mmWave 5G coverage.

There haven’t been any official announcements on when we’ll see the first phone with a Snapdragon X55 modem hit the market, but we’ve heard rumblings that devices will begin to arrive in the second half of 2019. We’ve also heard that T-Mobile will likely launch its 600MHz 5G coverage in the second half of the year.

Source: T-Mobile

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  • Jay Holm

    Waaaaaiting for Band 71 the be deployed in Houston. . . Baytown (77520). . .

    • SirStephenH

      Houston is largely part of phase 3 (ended 06-21-2019) of the TV repack with a lot of overlap in phase 8 (ends 03-13-2020). T-Mobile cannot deploy in an area until its phases are complete. Even if T-Mobile could deploy in the part of Houston where you live (it appears you’re outside of the phase 8 area so T-Mobile could probably deploy) it would be a minimum of 3 months before it would have enough work done in order to turn something on. Houston is also a band 12 area which puts it at a lower priority than areas without.

  • Joe2050

    I heard next years iPhone (2020) will support 5G hopefully it would support low band 5G not just the mmWave spectrum which is shorter reach.

    • midcoast

      Not sure why they bothered with mmWave for phones. mmWave is great for fixed home wireless using an outdoor antenna but not at all good for mobile.

  • Josh Warfel

    It would be nice to see some speed information. I’m really curious to see how 5G speed tests on 600Mhz vs. mmWave. mmWave sucks because of the range, and therefore the number of sites required to build it out. We have a hard enough time getting a single tower built for a town.. Imagine the infrastructure and “red tape” needed to put something on every other utility pole and in every room of every building..mmWave is great but the true deployment will take forever.

    • midcoast

      There isn’t as much spectrum in 600Mhz range as mmWave so even if 600 shows high speeds in a lab, the overall capacity with dozens to hundreds of users on a cell site will be significantly smaller on 600M vs mmWave. 5G squeezes more bits/hz than 4G but there’s still only so much spectrum at 600Mhz.

      • marque2

        600Mhz can’t carry nearly the data that higher frequencies can. 5g is a bit more efficient than 4g at loan frequencies but only about 15% more. The higher the frequency the more efficient 5g gets when compared to 4g (eg ~= 50% at 7gigHz)

    • SirStephenH

      Assuming that I’m correct and a 256/64 QAM (might actually use 256/16 QAM like on band 12 LTE), 4×4 MIMO, and 10+10MHz of band 71 spectrum, theoretical maximum speeds should be 195.8/37.5(25 with 16 QAM)Mbps on LTE. For 5G at that low of spectrum you should add about 15% over LTE, so around 225.2/43.1(28.75 with 16 QAM)Mbps theoretical maximum for 5G. Real world speeds should be around a third of that AT THE MOST (75/14.37Mbps). That is if all of these assumptions are correct…

      Compare that to 5+5MHz of band 12 LTE which most of the country still only has access to, which is usually 256/16 QAM and 2×2 MIMO, at a theoretical 48.95/12.5Mbps max.

  • Trevnerdio

    World’s first, huh? That’s not good news for the Note 10…almost certainly won’t be an X55.

    • Jay Holm

      I wouldn’t assume that. Official specs on the Note 10 aren’t out yet. . .if it comes to it, I wouldn’t be surprised if T-Mobile asks Samsung to make an updated Note 10 with the X55 later in the year.

      • Trevnerdio

        I wish they’d stop doing that just to rush products out. I want a new phone, but the S10 5G is just a proof of concept and the Note 10 may be handicapped at the start too.

      • Prode

        Note 10 most likely won’t have it. There is always a chance but if Samsung hasn’t already built it for the X55 it won’t have it. Getting a Note 10 without 5g isn’t that big of a deal since 5G won’t really be everywhere people care about until 2021 with the Note 11. LTE is good enough right now, I could case less about 5g until I can get it everywhere I go like LTE.

  • Status

    Glad I’m holding out for the next-gen modem. Of course I expect the phones with this chip to be $1000+.